Why Do Jack Russell’s Shake? [The Details You Should Know]

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Jack Russell’s are a unique dog and absolutely ensure that you experience their personality each day.

Jack Russell’s also has some physical and behavioral characteristics that can make you wonder what the cause may be and if you, as the owner, need to do anything to help.

One of those physical characteristics I want to discuss in today’s post is the question that comes up frequently regarding a Jack Russell shaking or trembling.

More specifically, why do Jack Russell’s shake?

After owning a Jack Russell now for several years, here is what I can tell you on this topic.

Jack Russell’s will shake due to either a behavioral, environmental, or medical cause. Jack Russell’s most frequently shake due to releasing excess energy. Jack Russell shaking is common and not a significant cause of concern. Jack Russell’s are hyperactive dog breeds who need the ability to release excess energy. Shaking is a common way a Jack Russell will accomplish this.

However, it is essential to understand that Jack Russell’s may be shaking for other reasons as well.

In fact, it’s the reason for this blog post being created.

Consider this, an ultimate guide towards understanding the potential reasons why your Jack Russell may be shaking and what you can do to help reduce shaking in your Jack Russell in the future.

I’ve created an easy table of contents directly below that will break down what I intend on covering in today’s post.

Feel free to use those links directly below to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire or need to learn more about.


Here is what I intend on covering for you today:

As mentioned previously, feel free to use the links directly above to navigate around this post quickly.

Otherwise, get comfortable and give me roughly 2-3 minutes, and I’ll break down common reasons as to why a Jack Russell will shake and provide insight as to what you can do to help reduce shaking with your JR.

Here are the essential details to understand.

Why Do Jack Russell’s Shake Recap?

Like we mentioned at the beginning of this post, Jack Russell’s may be shaking for a wide variety of reasons.

In most situations, it’s going to be exactly what we discussed earlier and nothing to worry about.

They simply need a way to release additional energy from time to time and are considered hyper dogs with a lot of excitement and energy that they love and prefer to use as often as possible.

When they don’t get the opportunity to release all this energy, it’s completely common to notice this shaking taking place from time to time.

This isn’t something you need to worry about.

It’s not causing any physical harm to your Jack Russell.

Now, something that is essential to understand is that your Jack Russell may be shaking for other reasons as well.

The rest of this post and the sections that we are going to discuss next will break these down further for you.

Let’s dive into those details now.

Behavioral Reasons Causing Your Jack Russell to Shake

Outside of needing to release some additional energy, let’s discuss other reasons that may be causing your Jack Russell to shake from time to time.

These causes for your Jack Russell to be shaking still fall under the category of behavior related causes.

One of the most obvious reasons why your Jack Russell may be shaking is due to fear.

Jack Russell’s aren’t necessarily programmed to show how frightened they may be in certain situations.

It’s an indication of weakness, and Jack Russell’s are from a weak breed.

However, I’ve even noticed certain things tend to scare my female Jack Russell more than other stimuli.

For instance, when I take her running with me, she will typically get scared by bikers and vehicles whipping past us.

She typically will slow down her run dramatically and sometimes even completely stop, sit and begin to shake.

This, to me, is a clear indicator that fear is one of the primary reasons that can cause your Jack Russell to shake.

You also have two other considerations in this category that may be causing your Jack Russell to shake or tremble.

Anxiety and excitement.

Keep in mind that anxiety and excitement are two completely different things when it comes to owning a Jack Russell.

Anxiety can be caused by leaving your Jack Russell home alone or your Jack Russell being secluded from the rest of the family in the home.

A Jack Russell may even get anxiety if they are hungry or as a result of needing to use the bathroom.

On the other hand, excitement with Jack Russell’s is typically caused just by existing.

Jack Russell’s are very loyal and affectionate dogs.

Simply having the opportunity to be around their human family members or even other dogs that they are accustomed to can cause excitement, which in turn, can cause your Jack Russell to shake depending on how severe and excited your Jack Russell gets in these situations.

One thing to keep in mind about every potential reason discussed so far as to why your Jack Russell may be shaking is nothing to be overly concerned with.

These causes are all perfectly normal, impossible to avoid, and nothing that will harm or cause any issues with your Jack Russell.

However, it is essential to understand that other factors may be causing your Jack Russell that fall into the category of medically related issues.

These can cause issues with your Jack Russell’s health and are more worrisome depending on the situation.

In addition to medical issues that may cause shaking with your Jack Russell, you also have the need to stay warm.

Let’s dive into those details next before sending you on your way.

Shedding and Temperature Control That Can Cause Shaking with JR’s

Jack Russell’s are different compared to a lot of other dog breeds.

Yes, they still shed, and it can be considered moderate shedding, but for the most part, Jack Russel’s have short and thin hair as their coats.

Clearly, this removes the Jack Russell’s ability to stay as warm during the cold months compared to other dog breeds with longer coats and longer hair.

Jack Russell’s are also considered one of the smaller dog breeds you can choose to adopt.

This, in addition to the short and thin hair, makes for a combination that can cause a Jack Russell trouble staying warm.

If they reach a temperature where they become uncomfortable, a Jack Russell is known to shake to help their body to produce heat and to stay warm.

This means that Jack Russell’s pets in geographical areas that have severe winters and frigid temps don’t make for the best outdoor dog nor should be outdoors in these situations.

For areas of the world that don’t encounter these harsh winters, be sure to allow your Jack Russell inside after they have completed their potty in order to enable them to get warm and not have to reach the point of shaking in order to stay warm.

Overall, this cause of shaking isn’t a huge deal if you are providing a warm home for your Jack Russell.

Now, last on the list of potential shaking causes is the medical side of things.

Let’s move into those possibilities and have you on your way.

Shaking with Jack Russell’s Due to Medical Concerns

Several medically related issues may be the cause of shaking with your Jack Russell.

The first would be simple but still worrisome for most owners.

Stomach pains and nausea.

This can be caused by a change of diets, eating something not desirable outside or even inside of the house.

These concerns will typically pass within a few days, but while they are persisting, you may notice shaking as a result of your Jack Russell.

If the problem doesn’t go away, be sure to consult a vet to ensure you don’t have worsening problems.

Hypoglycemia- Hypoglycemia can occur with Jack Russel’s when their blood sugar levels get out whack.

It’s said that when this occurs, you may notice shaking with your Jack Russell that may last anywhere from 15-20 minutes.

Although it’s typically not life-threatening, it can still be a cause of concern if the problems begin to worsen.

This is also a condition that can cause shaking with your Jack Russell and it is best to discuss with a vet to gain a full understanding of the condition and how to effectively manage the symptoms and treatments.

Wobbler Syndrome- Wobbler syndrome is a disease that can create shaking episodes in certain dog breeds and typically will impact the spine.

In most situations, this is another condition not to have too much concern over and typically only presents itself in limited situations.

It’s still a viable reason to consult a vet if you do notice a shaking episode to gain a better understanding of the situation.

Addison’s- Jack Russell’s are also known to get Addison’s disease in certain situations.

This is a deficiency of cortisol and aldosterone that can cause your Jack Russell to shake.

Outside of these medical conditions that can cause shaking with a Jack Russell, you also have a few less common medical conditions to keep in mind that can include any of the following:

  • Epileptic Seizures
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Congenital Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myelodysplasia
  • Scotty Cramp

To have a full understanding of each of these conditions and to be fully aware of what you as the owner needs to be doing for your Jack Russell in these unique circumstances, be sure to consult a vet and discuss the options, treatments and best routes to take to control the issue as best as possible.

Final Thoughts

Overall, shaking with Jack Russell’s doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad or anything to be alarmed with.

Clearly, if other concerns are present in addition to the shaking, be sure to contact a local vet and get your Jack Russell checked out.

Otherwise, shaking is something you’re likely to see owning a Jack Russell and nothing to be overly concerned with.

If you are providing a loving and happy home for your Jack Russell, they will be happy and healthy dogs.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your journey and your new Jack Russell.

Share Your Thoughts

As always, I encourage all the community members and readers to contribute their thoughts and concerns on the topic.

Do you have any further recommendations or insights on Jack Russell’s and their tendencies to shake or tremble?

Was any pertinent information left out of this reading that you believe could help the Terrier Owner Community?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading.

Thanks again, and we will see you next time.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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